Monday, July 19, 2010

Presidential Bloomlet

We read an extremely funny Reuters' story (via Liz) about the possibility that Mike Bloomberg was a serious candidate for president in 2012. The rationales of the so-called experts, however, sounded just a mite off-key: "But analysts say however much he may protest, conditions may be gelling for Bloomberg, who came close to standing for the White House in 2008, to run in 2012 as an independent. Voter distaste for both the Democratic and Republican parties and perceptions of government incompetence on big issues, from the Iraq war to the Gulf oil spill, could herald a new chance for the three-term mayor. "He's got the right climate and he's got the money. Resources are always an issue for third-party candidates, but Bloomberg has got that covered," said Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bloomberg, 68, is a fiscal conservative with liberal social views who is formally an independent. He combines proven political skills with business acumen and has drawn high ratings for his job running New York City."

This, "analysis," and with Mike you never know what is freely offered or purchased, fails to understand both the current political climate, as well as the reality of the mayor's philosophy and actual policy record. Voters today are disenchanted with both parties to the extent that the Democrats and the Republicans are similarly responsible for the ballooning national debt that has accompanied the vast increase in the administrative state that's out to regulate more and more features of our daily lives.

In this context, the Tea Party movement is an equal opportunity opponent of all establishment politicians-witness the fate of Utah Senator Bennett. But how does a Mike Bloomberg, the very guy who has recklessly expanded NYC government, find any kind of niche in this political climate? How does the trans fat ban and menu labeling act as a political calling card for the disaffected? And then there are his huge tax increases-and don't forget the regulatory regime that even targets guys just sitting on a milk crate in the neighborhood.

The latter phenomenon is captured by Kyle Smith in Sunday's NY Post-and the city's small businesses are right in the cross hairs of the uncaring mayor: "Justice comes swiftly to true miscreants. Just ask public enemy Pam Nelson, owner of the Butter Lane cupcakery on East 7th Street. She placed two tables outside her shop, discovered she had thereby created an “illegal sidewalk café” and was promptly shut down by the police. Warned? Told to move the tables? No, shut down. This directly cost her several days of lost revenue and maybe an even worse loss of business reputation. If you see an official notice announcing an eatery has been shut down, your mind swims with visions of rat poo, and you never go back."

This will certainly go over well with folks concerned about the impact of ObamaCare-as will the typical Mike Bloomberg reaction: "A capricious law, overzealous enforcement, disproportionate punishment — it’s almost like these are political issues, no? So our mayor quickly stepped in, and by stepped in, I mean, “Did nothing.” “Two thousand dollars is a pretty hefty fine, and I don’t know what law was broken,” Mike Bloomberg said, as though talking about the strange customs of someone else’s civilization. He showed no sign of taking any further interest."

And the idea that Bloomberg is a fiscal conservative sounds like the beginning of a Comedy Central bit. This is the guy who, while he didn't create the city's pension crisis, surely exacerbated it by larding New York's public payroll-and then proceeded to grant municipal workers generous, and unaffordable, raises. Oh, and we forgot that Mike Bloomberg observation about NYC being a luxury item-in response to a complaint about the high cost of living here. Tell us again, just where is the Bloomberg constituency?

The reality is that Mike Bloomberg is way out of touch with the anti-elitist political mood of the country-in fact he is its symbol. The one universal target of disdain in America-an area that sees agreement on both the Left and the Right-is Wall Street; and Mike Bloomberg has constantly gone out of his way to defend the financial sector with a zealotry that bakery owner Pam Nelson will never see from the patrician mayor. Mike's sanguine about regulating and taxing the tar out of any and all small shop keepers-and let's not forget his soda tax advocacy-but don't dare to raise a penny stock transfer tax with this guy-he'll bit your head off in a NY minute.

So, as much as we would welcome the hilarity of the charisma challenged and philosophically off key Bloomberg making an ass of himself all over the country-and the possibility of him perhaps resigning to do it is sure tantalizing-we don't think we will ever see it happen. One can dream though.